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How We Are Supporting Student Mental Health

July 28, 2023
Guest Contributor
SMCS Student Wellness Officer Liat Benzacar meeting with a student

Mental health refers to the overall psychological and emotional well-being of an individual, and encompasses their cognitive and social abilities to cope with life’s daily stresses. Maintaining good mental health as a student is vital to their ability to balance their workload, to participate in school life, and to engage in healthy and reciprocal relationships with peers, teachers, and loved ones.

High school can be challenging for adolescents, as they learn to navigate social relationships, academic pressures and their own personal development. That is why St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) promotes student mental health in order to offer a supportive environment in which students can build their resilience, and thrive.

The importance of supporting students’ mental health in high school cannot be overstated. This article delves into the significance of raising awareness about mental health issues, what resources are available to students, and the positive outcomes of a supportive school environment.

Promoting Awareness

The key to promoting positive mental health lies in educating students, teachers, and parents about common mental health issues that can arise during a high school career, with the aim to reduce stigma, encourage open dialogue, and foster a supportive and safe environment for students.

St. Michael’s College School offers workshops, presentations, and campaigns throughout the academic year to raise awareness about different mental health issues. By engaging students in conversations about mental health and raising awareness, SMCS encourages important discussions about some of the issues students may be facing, and in turn, students become more empathetic towards their peers.

SMCS teacher engaging with students | Student mental health

Access to Resources

To foster mental health among students, it’s important that they have access to mental health resources such as counseling services, support groups, helplines, and online mental health platforms.

As students become more comfortable discussing mental health issues, they also become better equipped to recognize signs of distress in themselves and others, which can help schools be more proactive in addressing concerns.

SMCS collaborates with local mental health organizations and dedicated counsellors to provide on-campus support in order to provide students with all the resources they need to tackle any challenges they may be facing.

Safe and Inclusive Environment

Creating an environment in which students feel heard and supported is essential for reducing the risk of bullying, social isolation and negative thought patterns that can seriously impact mental health.

A supportive school environment should encourage students to share openly with their peers and teachers about their mental well-being. This can be achieved by implementing anti-bullying policies, promoting diversity and inclusion within the school community and fostering a compassionate school environment that seeks to understand how a student might be feeling with the aim of encouraging deeper sharing, as well as a sense of belonging and safety.

Student Wellness Office

In order to promote a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for our students, our Student Wellness Office offers a broad range of support services to ensure every student can enjoy a meaningful and successful experience – both inside and outside of the classroom.

Our Student Wellness Officer also offers support to families coping with stress at home and navigating mental health issues in order to encourage stronger dialogue between students and their parents, as well as the school. SMCS has a registered social worker on staff, supported by a master of social work intern, to help identify and address potential mental health concerns, and connect families with the appropriate resources.

SMCS teacher engaging with students | Student mental health

Parent Involvement

By involving parents in the mental health support system at school, SMCS can create a comprehensive network of support and encourage students to communicate openly with their families about concerns they may have about their mental health.

By organizing various mental health workshops, seminars, and support groups for parents, we can better address their child’s needs. By working together, we can ensure student wellness is prioritized and that the community’s social and emotional fabric remains strong.

Promoting mental well-being in school helps to create healthier environments for students where they can actively work on their personal development, academic success, and social relationships, all while building resilience and a stronger sense of self. By breaking the cycle of stigma and offering a supportive network with appropriate resources, we can empower our students to face life’s challenges with confidence. By supporting mental health with the help of teachers and parents, we can lay the foundation for a happier and more successful future for our students.